Constable John Bonaventura has yet another really bad week, Sharron Angle fails again (or does she?), and Barbara Cegavske wants a voter-ID law in Nevada. All that and more in the SlashPolitics Week in Review! Mock on!
• When bad things happen to bad people: There’s no doubt left that Constable John Bonaventura is having a really bad run of luck lately. First, he screws up the constable’s office so badly, the county votes to abolish it. Second, he loses a lawsuit to challenge that decision. Third, he loses a primary election against an incumbent county commissioner.
If there’s one group of guys at Metro you don’t want knocking on your door, it’s the SWAT team. But after that, it’s the dedicated detectives of the Criminal Intelligence Section, the ones who investigate — among other things — political corruption. Or, in this case, the source of an audio recording of a profanity-laced phone call between Bonaventura and everybody’s favorite Clark County Commissioner, Tom Collins.
It’s not clear if Metro detectives found evidence that Bonaventura broke state law, since recording a phone call without the other party’s consent is illegal, although detectives did take computers, electronic equipment and bags of evidence. What is clear is that Bonaventura not only didn’t learn from former President Richard M. Nixon’s mistakes, he’s apparently using a Nixon biography as a career map. (Hey, constable: Put a bookmark wherever you’re at and skip to the end!)
The only way things could get worse for Bonaventura is if a federal court issued an injunction preventing him from allegedly shaking people down after they’re cited for having out-of-state license plates, or something. Oh, wait: That happened this week, too!
It centers on the case of a Utah woman who a deputy constable allegedly cited for living in Nevada beyond the statutory 30 days without getting Nevada license plates, and demanded she pay a $100 fee to the constable’s office that goes along with that citation. But since there’s no way to contest that fee in court, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Gordon said it violates the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause.
Don’t you hate it when that happens?
But it gets worse: The judge reprimanded Bonaventura attorney Robert Pool from the bench after Pool not only apparently made false allegations of misconduct against the shakedown victim. (Can you believe dude ran for judge! But he was soundly defeated last week.)
By week’s end, the constable’s office had suspended issuing any citations, saying “we want to make sure we’re doing it correctly, the way it’s supposed to be done.” Well, wouldn’t that be refreshing?
• What’s Angle’s real angle? The words “Sharron Angle” and “fail” go together like peanut butter and chocolate, only without the awesome taste. Other than holding a rural school board position and a Reno Assembly seat, and winning the right to lose to Harry Reid in 2010, Angle has lost every other race she’s run in Nevada.
This time, she wanted to put a voter-ID requirement in the state constitution, as well as ban insurance exchanges created pursuant to the Affordable Care Act. (Meanwhile, the looming problem of Sharia Law goes unaddressed! And she calls herself a conservative!)
Angle failed to gather the signatures needed to put those questions on the November ballot, which is not surprising. But maybe it’s because she was too busy fundraising. Her Nevada PACs don’t have to report revenues yet, but a federal PAC she’s connected to took in a boatload of money, and spent a boatload, too. (Some of that even went to Webmaster Sharron Angle!)
So perhaps Angle is having the last laugh, since she seems pretty keyed into a modern conservative idea: politics as performance art. Candidates and activists don’t actually run intending to win, but as a way of increasing their profiles so they can a.) raise money, b.) sell books, and c.) get on TV and be famous for being the person who’s on TV a lot and is thus famous.
Meanwhile, would-be Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske showed up at Hispanics in Politics and told them she’d like to see a voter-ID law, which is sort of like going to the Republican Men’s Club and saying you want to see Michelle Obama appointed queen. The only thing is, if she’s elected, Cegavaske actually could pursue a voter-ID law. She justified it thusly: “I don’t want to disenfranchise anybody, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have identification.”
Three things, here: One, Voter ID laws disenfranchise people, so if you don’t want to do that, you shouldn’t pursue them. (Perhaps what she meant was, “I don’t want to disenfranchise anybody, but you’ve got to break some voting rights eggs if you want a fluffy omelet of election security”?) Two, Cegavske should really meet more people. And three, she really should realize that just because something is not within your immediate sphere of experience doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! I’ve never met anybody who really, truly enjoys kale, but I can conceive of people out there who do.
• Um, what? So I was reading the full-page newspaper ad taken out by the Metro Police Protective Association to thank the community for its outpouring of support in the wake of the brutal and unprovoked assassinations of two innocent officers by a couple of misfit anti-government types. It was a nice gesture for a city that too often fails to recognize the danger inherent in the job of police officer.
But then I read the signers of the ad, and came across this: “Bryan Yant, director of governmental affairs.”
That’s Bryan Yant, as in Detective Bryan Yant, the officer who killed low-level marijuana dealer Trevon Cole in an incident riddled with unbelievable mistakes, inconsistent testimony and suspicious circumstances. He was reassigned to a desk job and given a one-week unpaid suspension, the harshest penalty short of termination, in the wake of that incident. That guy is now the liaison between the police union and other government entities.
• Quotable: Invading Iraq “would be the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of our country.” — U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Sadly, the quote is from this year, not 2002 when Reid voted for the use of force in Iraq. To his credit, and unlike some of his contemporaries, Reid has said his 2002 vote was a mistake. (It should be noted that Reid often says he believed then Secretary of State Colin Powell when Powell made the case for war, but as many have pointed out, Powell’s presentation to the United Nations was Feb. 5, 2003, and the Senate’s Iraq vote was months earlier, on Oct. 11, 2002.)
• Can’t keep a good man … in town? I thought there might be some awkward moments at the Nevada Democratic Party Convention this weekend in Reno, and not just because they’re having it at Circus Circus. No, the awkwardness would be having top-of-the-ticket Robert “Bob” Goodman around as the party’s official nominee for governor.
Well, quasi-official. Semi-official. Kind of official. See, None of These Candidates actually won that race, outpolling Goodman by 3,700 votes and 5 percentage points. But under the rules, the highest human vote-getter still gets to be the nominee.
So, would Goodman be allowed to speak? What would he say? Usually, the guy at the top of the ticket sets the agenda: What’s Goodman’s agenda? And how would he interact with actual Democratic candidates trying to gain state office, such as lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores?
No worries: Goodman is out of town. Out of state. In fact, out of the country on a “trade mission” to Hong Kong and Beijing. So he won’t be able to attend the convention. (I’m told that Goodman makes great use of the fact that he’s the official Democratic nominee for governor during his “trade missions” to China. Remind me again: Does their Internet block the Secretary of State’s website that would show the Chinese that he lost to an abstract?)
So where does he stand on the issues? The Review-Journal’s Laura Myers asked. Turns out, he’s against The Education Initiative. So whatever else may be said about him, he’s for sure an Official Nevada Democrat.
And speaking of The Education Initiative…
• Dining on … fear! So, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce sponsored a lunch this week to discuss The Education Initiative, or as they call it THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT TAX THAT WILL KILL BUSINESS, MAKE CHILDREN CRY AND DESTROY CHRISTMAS!!! Or words to that effect.
Seriously, I haven’t seen white people this upset since O.J. Simpson was acquitted, and that was, like, 20 years ago.
Most the lunch was spent painstakingly picking apart the details of the tax, with special guests Joe Henchman (I swear that was his actual name!) of the Tax Foundation, accountant-badly-in-need-of-a-Valium Curt Anderson, and Chris Nielsen, director of the state Taxation Department. Nevada Taxpayers Association President Carole Vilardo moderated, which means she only predicted seven years of plagues if the tax passed, not 100 years like everybody else.
Of all the Four Horsemen on the stage, it was Anderson the Accountant who most starkly broke the mold, lapsing into a paroxysm of hyperbole unworthy of a calm, objective numbers guy. Hey, Anderson! Hyperbole and rhetorical flourish is my thing!
Anyway, Anderson called it “a mess.” He called it “an abomination.” He said it’s “a terrible legal document” that borders on “malpractice, if you ask me.” (Psst. Don’t ask him, unless you’ve got time for a Power Point and are outside spitting distance!)
“You can lose your posterior and still pay!” he thundered. And the kicker: It’s so bad, so awful, so wrong, that even the society of CPAs — which would directly benefit from helping businesses figure out how to pay the tax — voted to oppose it because it’s just so gosh-darn bad for everybody!
“It’s an indictment of our processes in the state of Nevada,” Anderson added. “All of these kids we’re trying to give a better education — we’ve messed them up [if the tax passes] because we lost jobs. What are we doing to ourselves?”
All good questions! Here’s another: Since we have no corporate income tax now, and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and we’ve done a really bad job diversifying our economy despite a pretty good tax climate, where are all those awesome jobs for the kids now?
But the most awesome part of the Chamber lunch was when the tax experts got together and crafted their own alternative tax that had none of the flaws of The Education Initiative and the full endorsement of the business community. Oh, wait, that didn’t happen. In fact, opponents have never said what they’d prefer as an alternative to The Education Initiative, even though many of them agree we need more money for schools.
Who represented the pro-tax side? That’s a funny story. They forgot to invite somebody to articulate that position, which tells you these folks are really scared of The Education Initiative for some reason.
Of course, there are some legitimate flaws and shortcomings with the tax, which was the product of a ballot initiative rather than a collaborative approach in the Legislature. Why? Because the self-same Chamber of Commerce that hates this tax so much has used its considerable influence in Carson City to thwart every tax idea that’s been proposed in at least the last 15 years.
But just ask any of the experts the Chamber trotted out on Wednesday, and I’ll just bet they’d tell you there are shortcomings with every tax, loopholes or trap doors or fiscal cliffs that make every levy distasteful for some reason. Does that mean we just throw up our hands and say, “forget it!” No.
Seriously, does anybody believe if the teachers union had come up with a net profits tax, a gross receipts tax, a straight-up corporate income tax or any other tax that the Chamber would have been OK with it? Does anybody think that it’s just this particular tax that grates on the business community, but another tax could be found that they’d embrace? If so, stay away from late night TV infomercials, lest you lose your life savings.
• It’s Electric Daisy Carnival time! And if you’re like me, then you are totally psyched to … lock yourself in your house, close the curtains and watch movies on pay per view! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next week.